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Electricity Discos blame FG’s failure to pay N100bn subsidy, other promises for travails

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Nigeria’s Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) have attacked the Federal Government over what they described as ‘renationalisation’ of electricity firms.

They insisted that government, via the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) and Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), allegedly has a hand in the failure of the power sector by not “meeting extant guidelines and regulations.

The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), an umbrella body of the DisCos, in a statement, claimed that government failed to fulfil a N100 billion subsidy and other privatisation promises made since 2013.

At least, five firms – Abuja DisCo, Benin DisCo, Ibadan DisCo, Kaduna and Kano DisCos – have fallen into the hands of banks they took credit from after being unable to break even eight years after licensing.

The prevailing situation, which comes few days after NERC announced a contract-based electricity market, stakeholders said the development might worsen the industry’s woes, pointing to an alleged breach by BPE and NERC.

Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Sunday Oduntan, said the utility companies are deeply concerned about the “restructuring” of the five electricity distribution firms, adding that the move “is inconsistent with all the guidelines and processes necessary to comply with the framework of privatisation agreements and the rule of law.”

According to him, resultant outcome of the move has been an expropriation or backdoor renationalisation of the DisCos by the Federal Government.

He went on: “Such renationalisation or expropriation must be viewed through a historical context as necessary for a proper understanding of the performance challenges that the DisCos have been faced with since privatisation.

“Fundamentally, the basis of privatisation was flawed from the beginning, due to conditions that were not met by the Federal Government, while expecting the DisCos to meet their performance obligations. Not only were the investors short-changed because of insufficient and unreliable data that was provided by BPE to them during the privatisation process, but the government also committed to and failed to deliver on DisCos’ debt-free financial books, payment of Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDA) electricity debts and N100 billion subsidy.”

While it said the DisCos take responsibility for some issues, ANED stated that the government also contributed to the challenges. It said the government holds 40% stakes in the DisCos, has representatives on the boards that take operational decisions but the DisCos are blamed for the misalignment in the power sector.

“Expropriation or renationalisation, by itself, of the DisCos will not change the current bleak situation or outlook of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI),” ANED noted.

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Pre-COP Conference reinforces Nigeria’s role as global climate leader – Tinubu’s aide

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Joel Ajayi Comrade Yussuf Kelani, the recently appointed Special Assistant to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Climate Change Matters, attended the UNFCCC SB60 Pre-COP conference.

As a former President of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) and a dedicated environmental activist, Kelani’s presence at the conference marks a significant step in Nigeria’s climate action journey.

The Pre-COP conference brought together representatives from various nations and stakeholders in climate action and environmental sustainability from around the globe.

This pivotal event was held in preparation for the UNFCCC COP29, scheduled to take place in Baku, Azerbaijan, in November 2024. The primary focus of the conference was to develop and refine the implementation framework for the global climate finance roadmap.

The year 2024 is set to be a landmark year for climate finance, with countries agreeing on a new global climate finance goal known as the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG). This goal is expected to be a crucial marker for a successful outcome at COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The NCQG aims to mobilize significant financial resources to support the climate needs and priorities of developing countries, including mitigation, adaptation, addressing loss and damage, and facilitating just transitions.

A key objective of the NCQG is to provide clarity on the public funding available for developing countries to implement their next round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and adaptation plans, which are due by February 2025. At COP28, countries agreed to submit their NDCs 9-12 months ahead of COP30, highlighting the urgency and importance of these commitments.

Our participation in the SB60 Pre-COP conference underscored Nigeria’s proactive stance in global climate negotiations. Our involvement facilitated Nigeria’s engagement with global leaders, policymakers, and climate experts, enhancing collaborative efforts and reinforcing Nigeria’s commitment to climate action.

President Tinubu’s SA on Climate Change Matters highlighted that Nigeria’s active participation in the conference has yielded several benefits, including increased access to climate finance.

The discussions at the conference focused on securing substantial financial resources for developing nations through the NCQG. For Nigeria, this translates into enhanced funding for projects aimed at mitigation, adaptation, and resilience-building. These funds are crucial for Nigeria to achieve its climate targets and transition towards a low-carbon economy.

Another significant aspect of Nigeria’s participation in the SB60 Pre-COP conference was the emphasis on technological innovation and capacity building. Engaging with international experts and stakeholders allowed Nigeria to gain insights into the latest advancements in clean energy technologies, climate-smart agriculture, and sustainable urban development. These insights are vital for driving domestic climate initiatives and ensuring that Nigeria leverages cutting-edge technologies to address its unique challenges.

The outcomes of the SB60 Pre-COP conference align closely with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s agenda for climate change and Nigeria’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Climate action is intricately linked to multiple SDGs, including those related to poverty eradication, food security, clean water, and sustainable cities. By advancing its climate agenda, Nigeria is simultaneously driving progress towards achieving these interconnected goals.

Investments in renewable energy, for instance, not only mitigate greenhouse gas emissions but also provide access to affordable and clean energy, fostering economic growth and reducing poverty. Similarly, sustainable agricultural practices enhance food security and promote responsible land use, contributing to SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) and SDG 15 (Life on Land). These integrated approaches ensure that climate action efforts also deliver socio-economic benefits, thereby promoting holistic development.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is committed to leveraging these gains to implement effective and inclusive climate policies that benefit all Nigerians. Nigeria’s active engagement in global climate forums underscores its dedication to being a leader in climate action and a champion of sustainable development.

As posted on the Facebook page of Comrade Kelani Yussuf,
Special Assistant to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Climate Change Matters

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